Jan 8, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterThe Riverton City Council formally declared two vacancies on the council Tuesday during the first regular meeting of the year.
The council agreed to begin advertising for the seats. Letters of interest must be turned in to city offices by noon Friday, Jan. 31.
The two council seats were held by Eric Heiser in Ward 1, who resigned to take a job in Utah, and Lars Baker in Ward 3, who, after retiring from the Fremont County Weed and Pest Control District, had to resign from all entities under the same state retirement system in order to be eligible for retirement benefits. The city pays some benefits under the state system.
After 30 days, Baker would be eligible to serve on the council again without loss of benefits from his earlier retirement, and he has indicated he will reapply.
Between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4, council members and the mayor would have the opportunity to look over all interested applicants.
On Feb. 4, during the regular meeting, applicants can be interviewed. Then, the council would go into executive session and further discuss a decision.
"At that point the council, if they're ready, could appoint applicants to the two vacant seats or they could wait until their next meeting or call a special meeting," said city administrator Steven Weaver.
The council worked around the dates, as council member Richard Gard said he would not be present at the next regular meeting, and Mary Ellen Christensen may be absent on Feb. 11, a date the council could choose to have a special meeting to announce a decision.
Weaver also said one letter of interest already has been submitted to city staff.
An interested individual must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the city, registered to vote, at least 18 years old, and live in the ward of the vacant seat.
Riverton Municipal Code states that mentally incompetent individuals would not qualify, nor would anyone who has been convicted of a felony and whose civil rights have not been restored, or anyone who is barred from holding office by reason of state or federal law.
Each appointee would fill the term for the remaining of this year and would then be eligible to run in the next general election at the end of this year.
Council member Todd Smith clarified that the person representing Ward 1 would fulfill a four-year term, and a two-year term in Ward 3.
Ward 1 covers area east of North Federal Boulevard, as far north as Haymaker Road and as far south as the Wind River. Ward 3 covers area between Gasser Road and selective area south of Riverview Road, on the west side of town. This ward also covers area at the Riverton Regional Airport and that surrounding it.
A detailed map can be seen on .
Weaver initially offered a due date of Jan. 17 as the day for all letters to be due -- 10 days from when they declared the vacancies on Tuesday, Jan 7.
Gard said 10 days seemed "tight" timing for interested locals but if residents are already aware of what's going on with the council, then 10 days would suffice. He urged residents to become more involved in council activity.
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